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I loved pop music as a teenager, the early 1970s was the end of the Tin Pan Alley era of of pop, where bubble gum tunes and beautiful melodies sat side by side with disco and soul on the top 40 charts. At the time I thought there was so much to hate about seventies' music but looking back I have a greater appreciation for the diversity.
In the mid-1970s it became very popular to take an old song and give it a Disco arrangement. Strangers in the Night and just about every other standard from decades past was twisting polyestered bodies on the world's dance floors. It got to be absurd listening to the latest dance remake of the week but Disco was the one music that cut across every world-wide cultural divide at the time. You could hear the same dance music in New York, Monte Carlo, London, Egypt or Paris.
One of those Disco purveyors was Walter Murphy. In 1976 he had a massive hit with a Disco version of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, of all things. Massive hit. Like most who charted in the mid-1970s Walter Murphy was basically a one hit wonder but I really enjoyed his 1978 concept LP entitled 'Phantom of the Opera'. It's hardly the perfect album, there are a good many misfires, but I've kept it through all my moves and break it out every year or so as a reminder of what I liked about that era's music.
Five singles were released from this project and all failed to chart which was a shame because a few of the tunes were really strong and lingered with me for years. One was 'The Music Will Not End,' a retooling of Mozart's Piano Sonata Number 3 with added lyrics. I suppose it's kinda hokey but it had an invincible pop construct with a soaring vocal by B.G. Gibson.
The music you hear from the 1970s on the radio tends to be the same old tired hit songs they've been playing for decades.
Rarely will an oldies station stray outside of the top ten songs of the decade. That's because there were so darn many - it was the era of the 'one hit wonder.'
Obscure 70s looks at LPs and singles that may not have made the top of the charts but were amazing none the less.
Obscure 70s Looks At: